In recent years, Saudi Arabia has signaled its hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East. The country is locked in hot proxy wars against Iran in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq.
The Saudis and Iranians are also in a cold proxy war in Lebanon. Saudi bombing raids on Yemen have killed thousands of people and internally displaced millions. Recent reports suggest the June 2017 Saudi-led blockade against Qatar had questionable timing. The U.S.-supported move followed failed efforts by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, to secure loans from Qatar for his family’s business.
And the U.S. is discussing plans to build nuclear power reactors in Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration might waive restrictions to allow the Saudis to enrich and reprocess uranium. Many critics believe Saudi Arabia plays an unhelpful role in stalled peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
We’ll talk about Saudi Arabia’s large footprint in the Middle East with Rashid Khalidi, professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. He’s author of numerous books on the Middle East including Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. He’s currently on sabbatical in France.